The Canadian Character

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The Canadian character is based on the belief that a person’s actions speak louder than words. It’s driven by our cold, northern climate and mostly rockbound environment.

Canada’s glorious history overflows with individual heroes, explorers, inventors, doctors, warriors, creators, athletes, scholars, engineers, entertainers, businessmen, scientists, architects, builders paladins in every field of human endeavour.

Canadians are the world’s most inventive people and, in a few short years, our few people created one of the world’s great nations from a wilderness.

Canadians were proud of the accomplishments of their hands and brains. They were proud of the reputation they’d earned in the world as a people who could be counted on to get a job done in war or in peace.

They didn’t brag or even talk a lot about their deeds. They were too busy doing all the things that were necessary to make this vast and empty land a truly unique and wonderful country in which to raise a family, to live and work in peace with one’s neighbours, and to have a chance to make one’s dreams come true.

Some pundits have presumed to call Canadians deferential to government authority. Horseradish! They don’t know what they’re talking about. From Brule to Stojko, individual Canadians have simply chosen to follow only their own drummers or sensible leadership. We’ve been indifferent to arbitrary authority, not deferential to it.

A famous story from the first World War says it well. It is set in the army camp on Salisbury Plain in England where Canadian and other Empire troops assembled before going to the Western Front.

Sentry: ‘Alt, who goes there?
Reply: Scots Guards.
Sentry: Pass, Scots Guards.

Sentry: ‘Alt, who goes there?
Reply: The Buffs.
Sentry: Pass, The Buffs.

Sentry: ‘Alt, who goes there?
Reply a): Mind your own g-d—business.
Sentry: Pass, Canadians.

And, remember, Canadians invented hockey, basketball, baseball and American¬ rules football four of the five top sports in the world today!

Extracted from Essay 3, completed December 1999, in “Personalism v. Socialism”